Congestion


Allergy Congestion: Brain Fog

Brain FogEveryone knows what it’s like to be congested; whether it’s from a bad cold, sickness or allergies. Either way, it does not feel great. What else doesn’t feel great? Brain Fog. For a while now, many people have been trying to explain this phenomenon that causes them to view everything so blurry while they’re suffering from their untreated allergies or illnesses. While many thought it was an unexplainable myth, it turns out there’s more evidence to prove it true. “It’s in your head but it’s not in your head” is how Mind Body Green (MBG) it. Let’s take a further look at the effects Brain Fog has on your everyday life.

Brain Fog occurs when the brain becomes fatigued and as a result, you become confused — “fuzzy” — and have decreased focus and mental activity. In this blog, let’s focus on how allergies contribute to the condition. Here are some common symptoms those with Brain Fog experience:

  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Forgetfulness and trouble remembering information
  • Trouble sleeping through the night

It’s extremely important to pay attention to the symptoms and see if any pertain to you. Brain Fog is not something that can be tested for or that will show up in any X-ray or scan, so it will be up to you to determine whether or not you are experiencing it. The awareness isn’t as difficult as it sounds — no one knows your body better than you do.

For a while now, doctors have been debating what the causes of Brain Fog are, how to treat it, and if it’s even a real thing. The answers are becoming clearer now.

Research has shown that children who have not treated their allergies are performing worse in school compared to those who have treated their allergies. Why? These untreated allergies can lead to lack of sleep and therefore, lead to increased fatigue and lack of concentration in class. These results can be applied to adults as well. Another factor is in our cytokines, molecules that regulate the immune system, that help fight infections in our bodies and affect how we think, function, and perform. These cytokines are released when inflammation occurs and cause the fuzziness and fog our brains feel.

So, if you think untreated allergies are no big deal, think again. And if you are not sure if you actually have allergies, there are non-invasive allergy tests that will tell you for sure. After all, no one wants to see the world through a big fuzz.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices and find out how we can help you permanently come out of the fog.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions or treatments, read more about CT Sinus Center and take a look at our blog.


Making Sense of Losing Senses

SensesFall is a favorite season for many, especially Connecticut folks, with our senses being stimulated with the classic pumpkin and cinnamon flavors that fill both the air and our stomachs. Sadly, there are some people who don’t have the benefit of smelling and tasting these sweet fall flavors. This loss of two senses can be caused by a number of things, including sinus conditions — none of which are ever any fun.

Allergies and Sinusitis

Whether it’s the fall leaves, the back to school (or work) dust and mold, or even hay fever, fall allergens can be anywhere. Allergies, themselves, can present cold-like symptoms, such as congestion. For more information on fall allergies, check out our previous blog post, “What’s Up with Fall Allergies.” Over time, allergies can turn into a serious case of sinusitis,. which also presents cold-like symptoms when your sinuses (the area around your nasal passages) become swollen, clogged and infected. For more information, see “Sinusitis: Acute vs. Chronic.”

In both conditions, the major pressure and inflammation around your nose and head can seriously affect your sense of smell and taste. But, how does it effect these senses? The olfactory nerves (which allow us to smell) can become blocked by that inflammation. You’ve probably noticed that even with a small cold, your sense of smell is lessened as result of a stuffy nose. When you experience long-term sinusitis or allergies, that sense of smell can be diminished for months, or even longer. The American Rhinologic Society explains: “[T]he chronic inflammation from [sinusitis] can also permanently affect smell by damaging the special cells and nerves of the smell pathway.” Since smell and taste going hand in hand, that means your sense of taste is gone as well.

Nasal Obstruction

The loss of taste and smell can be structural as well. Both nasal polyps and deviated septums can cause a blockage that blocks the “smell nerves,” lessening those senses.

Treatments

There are a few different temporary methods for treating the loss of these senses. These include:

There are also a series of tests that can pinpoint the exact cause of your congestion, whether it be an allergy test or a sinus examination. Knowing your triggers will help you better prepare for your next reaction.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more permanent solution, let our expert physicians at CT Sinus Center help. We offer two cutting-edge, non-invasive procedures that are done in our office, in about an hour, that will open up the nasal passageways that are blocked and inflamed:

Once your nasal passages are cleared, your sense of smell will begin to come back, and so will your sense of taste, restoring your sense of happiness.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices. After all, the old adage goes: “All’s well that smells well.”

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions or treatments, read more about CT Sinus Center and take a look at our blog.


Setting the Record Straight: Deviated Septum

deviated septumThe nasal septum is the bone and cartilage in the middle of your nose. It is what separates your nasal cavities and is responsible for keeping you breathing freely through your nose. However, if the septum is crooked, or deviated, it can hinder your breathing.

According to WebMD, about 80% of people have somewhat of a deviated septum. The good news is that unless the deviation is severe, you probably won’t even notice it. And fortunately, for most people, this is the case. Unfortunately for the others, a seriously crooked septum can result in breathing problems and requires treatment.

How do I know if I require treatment?

Because the symptoms of a deviated septum mirror those of chronic sinusitis and allergies, it’s important to go to a doctor for a proper diagnosis. WebMD lists them as:

What causes a deviated septum?

You may be born with one, or it can come about because of injury. That said, a broken nose doesn’t necessarily lead to a deviated septum.

What’s the treatment for this condition?

To manage your congestion and discomfort, you can reach for the old standbys:

Or, if you are ready to do more than just manage it, you can schedule an appointment at our sister office, Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat for a more permanent solution. Through superior, patient-centered care, our doctors will be able to determine if you have a deviated septum and whether or not you are a candidate for a surgical procedure called septoplasty, which will repair a crooked septum and improve breathing. During these procedures, the doctor will make a small incision in the area of the nose that needs repairing and remove excess bone or cartilage or lessen swelling and blockage in other ways that can widen the breathing space. Sometimes, a rhinoplasty is combined with septoplasty to improve the appearance or crookedness of the nose.

This outpatient procedure is performed under local or general anesthesia and can usually be done within an hour and a half. If you eligible to have it, your doctor will make sure that you are prepared and comfortable every step of the way.

If you think you may be suffering from a deviated septum, make a straight-line path to your phone and call Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat at  (203) 574-5987 today.

With three conveniently-located offices, there is no reason to turn your nose up to finding relief.

For information on all things related to to sinuses and allergies, visit CT Sinus Center’s website and blog.


Top 4 Signs of Sinusitis

For the last couple of weeks, you’ve been feeling congested and have had some swelling just above your cheeks. You keep telling yourself it’s just a cold, and if you give it a few more days, it’ll pass. But a few days later, you’re completely fatigued and feel like someone is pounding on your eyes from the outside in. Deep in your heart, you know you are suffering from sinusitis.

Sinusitis is a common condition wherein the area around your nasal passages, the sinuses, become swollen. Acute sinusitis is a temporary infection that is most often associated with a cold. Usually, in an acute case,  over-the-counter remedies, fluids and rest are all you need to feel better after a couple of days. On the other hand, chronic sinusitis persists much longer — at least eight weeks — and requires help from a doctor.

In order to be diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, you must have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

In addition, you may also be experiencing:

  • Ear pain
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Aching in the jaw and teeth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

If we have just described how you’ve been feeling,  it’s time to schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable physicians at CT Sinus Center. Depending on your individual symptoms and medical history, your doctor may use a variety of diagnostic methods to determine the underlying cause of your discomfort.

In many cases, your doctor will recommend saline irrigation, nasal sprays to prevent inflammation, decongestant or corticosteroids to relieve inflammation. If you have a bacterial infection, you will likely be prescribed antibiotics.

If these treatments don’t do the trick, or your symptoms keep coming back, CT Sinus Center can help you find the permanent relief that has been eluding you. Schedule a consultation with one of our specialists to see if you are eligible for Balloon Sinus Dilation, a procedure designed to reshape your nasal passages, thereby increasing airflow and drainage and decreasing the chance of mucus buildup and further sinus problems. This non-evasive procedure is done under local anesthesia and takes just under an hour. It is available only at CT Sinus Center.

For more information on how we can help you get permanent relief from sinusitis, schedule an appointment today!


The Truth About Fall Allergies

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It’s that time of the year again. The humidity is gone, pumpkin spice everything is available, and the leaves are turning beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red. You might be enjoying all of the season’s charm if your head wasn’t so stuffy. Unfortunately, you are probably experiencing the following symptoms as well:

  • Runny nose and nasal congestion
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Sinus pressure and facial pain
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under the eyes
  • Decreased sense of smell or taste

Like millions of other people, you are suffering from fall allergies. Yes, fall allergies are a real thing. Contrary to popular belief, allergies are actually year-round, caused by different irritants. In fact, about 75% of people who suffer from spring allergies will also suffer from fall ones.

Ragweed, which can release its pollen through October, is the most common cause of fall allergies. The pollen is an ambitious little material that can travel through the wind for hundreds of miles. What this means is that even if there is no ragweed growing anywhere around you, you can still have a reaction to the pollen.

Mold spores are another common trigger for discomfort. Mold flourishes in damp or wet areas, and while you are aware of susceptible spots in your house, you probably don’t think about the ones outside. Problematic mold can exist in piles of wet leaves or rotting fruits and vegetables, such as those in your garden and in the carved Halloween pumpkin on your front porch.

Another fall allergy trigger is the return to school. Have you noticed that your child seems to be suffering from allergies more now after going back? Is this a coincidence or more in the line of “the dog ate my homework”? Believe it or not, the truth is that your child may actually be allergic to school, and this is something to sneeze at. Chances are that many of the classrooms have been closed up for the entire summer, and without proper ventilation and regular cleaning, mold and dust mites can build to harmful levels — especially in older buildings.  

There is good news, however. Even with fall allergies, you are not condemned to stay in your house all season feeling miserable, nor should you keep your child home from school. There are many over-the-counter medicines that may bring some relief, but if those don’t work, schedule a consultation with us. One of our knowledgeable physicians will take the time to sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and available treatment options, including Balloon Sinus Dilation. a non-invasive procedure that will put a permanent end to your sinus conditions. Balloon Sinus Dilation is available only at CT Sinus Center.

For more information on how CT Sinus Center can offer you permanent relief from allergies year-round, book your appointment by calling (203) 574-5997. Don’t let the charm of the fall season pass you by.


Still Coughing After My Cold: Post-Nasal Drip

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Ah yes, post-nasal drip—believe it or not, as gross as the term sounds, it feels just as unpleasant. Not only is it “icky,” but it tends to cause discomfort in more places than just your face. Let’s talk about what this all feels like so you’ll know if you should come visit us here at CT Sinus Center.

When your body produces more mucus than usual (there is always some kind of mucus going on in a healthy system) or there is phlegm that is thicker than normal, post-nasal drip tends to become noticeable (and quite bothersome). When you have the flu or bad allergies, excess mucus often comes out of your nose and you’ll probably start looking for tissues as your first source of relief. To your dismay, you may find that you can’t blow it all out and almost wish that your nose was runnier. That way, you might not feel as stuffy, congested, and weighed down. When the phlegm escapes and runs down the back of the nose to your throat, it’s called post-nasal drip—lots of times, it will not go away when you think you are finally over the worst of your symptoms. Post-nasal drip can linger for a while and cause the following further aggravations:

  • Sore throat
  • Constantly feeling the need to clear your throat
  • Chronic cough that gets worse at night
  • Chest congestion or ear infection if your sinuses get backed up over time

Treatment depends on the cause of the post-nasal drip.

What can you do about this? There are always over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants, and those might help for a little while. However, for permanent relief, you need to come see the pros in Connecticut. Especially if you think this could be happening due to another problem that might just look like a cold or allergies (since they share some symptoms with many other conditions), such as other specialties of ours: GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), sinusitis, or a deviated septum.